Many of us have heard the concept that by changing our thoughts we can change our lives. When we think negative thoughts, our life experiences become unhappy and negative. On the other hand, when we think positive thoughts, our lives feel more positive. And so, it seems that the key to living a happy, positive life is to think happy, positive thoughts. It sounds simple, right? The tricky thing is that it’s not always easy to do.
Most of us know that we want to feel good as we go about our lives. We may see the correlation between our thoughts affecting our feelings, which in turn impact our life experience. We want to think good thoughts so that we can live good lives… but where we get stuck is the HOW. How exactly do we change our thoughts? Here is my 3 step process:
1) Notice how you feel
Our feelings are the #1 indicator to whether we are thinking positive thoughts or negative thoughts. If we are feeling pretty good, chances are that our thoughts have been positive, or at the very least neutral. If we are feeling angry, sad, or anxious, it’s very likely that we have hopped on the negative thought train.
2) Pay attention to your thoughts
Once you notice that you are not feeling as good as you would like to feel, it’s time to explore your thought patterns. Start to pay attention to the words you are saying to yourself. This may feel a little bit strange if you have never done it before, but it will get easier the more you do it. Pretend that you have a bird’s eye view of what’s going on in your brain. Become a non-judgmental observer of your thoughts. Start to notice what you are saying to yourself. What phrases do you find yourself repeating over and over again? What are you telling yourself about yourself?
3) Change the script
Once you’ve established your negative thought patterns, it’s time to change them! Creating a new thought pattern is simple; it just takes a little bit of commitment. Create a mantra or affirmation that describes the new thought that you want to have. If you’ve been telling yourself, “I am so miserable” instead start saying, “I find something to smile about everyday.” Instead of thinking, “I’m poor and I have no money.” try, “Money-making opportunities are coming my way.” Instead of, “I hate my body” try “I treat my body with love and respect.” Make your new mantra stick by repeating it to yourself over and over again. Each time you find yourself thinking your old negative thought, replace it with your new mantra.
After following this process for a few days, you will start to feel much better!
I recently used this 3 step process in my own life. I realized that I had been feeling pretty anxious for several weeks. I started to notice that the first thought I had most mornings was, “I have the worst anxiety.” Throughout the day, I found myself repeating different versions of this same thought. I was walking around my daily life telling myself, “I’m so anxious” over and over again, and then I wondered why I was feeling so anxious!
Thankfully, I remembered that my feelings can be influenced by my thoughts. So I consciously started working to change them.
I created a new mantra: “Every day, in every way, I am feeling better and better.” I started repeating my new mantra each time I caught myself thinking about how anxious I was. I went to sleep reciting my mantra. I woke up and repeated it in my mind before I opened my eyes.
For the first couple of days, this took a little bit of effort, as I was still reprogramming my mind. But, by the 3rd day of doing this, I noticed that when I woke up, my first thought was “Every day, in every way, I am feeling better and better.” without my even having to think about it! It was working!
In the days that followed, new, more positive thoughts started replacing my inner dialogue. I started to notice myself saying things like “My life is really good and I’m really lucky.” By changing the one major negative thought that had been consuming me, my other thoughts started to become more positive. And, more importantly, I started to FEEL so much better! This is how I knew that I was on the right track.
Now, that’s not to say that everything is rainbows and butterflies all the time now. But, I’ve remembered that I can change my thoughts. Whenever I notice that I am feeling off, I follow this 3 step process of noticing how I’m feeling, paying attention to how I am talking to myself, and creating a new script. It always helps me feel better!
Have you ever tried to change your own mind before? It may sound a little bit crazy but I promise it works!
If you would like some help reframing your thoughts and creating a more positive life experience, I currently have one opening for a new private coaching client. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to see if coaching might be right for you!
Wishing you a week full of happy thoughts!